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New mayor, council meet for first time


A new mayor and governing board took their seats in the Las Cruces City Council chambers Tuesday afternoon for their first meeting of the new year.

Mayor Eric Enriquez as well as councilors Cassie McClure (District 1) and Bill Mattiace (District 2) were elected to their positions in November and sworn in on Dec. 18. Among the statements of welcome and opening remarks by the new officers, McClure and Enriquez both promised to earn the trust of voters who did not prefer them in the November election.

“It’s an exciting time for Las Cruces,” District 4 Councilor Johana Bencomo said later during the 90-minute meeting. “I think we’ve had one mayor for a really long time and so this just feels like a door open of opportunity.”

Among the first orders of business was to select a mayor pro tem, who performs mayoral duties “in the absence or disability of the mayor,” per the city’s charter. Enriquez nominated Bencomo, who was elected to her second four-year term in November. Bencomo was swiftly and unanimously approved by the rest of the council and immediately switched seats to take her place next to the mayor.

Public comments followed, during which nine speakers approached the podium to welcome the new officers to their place and offer recommendations, requests or simply vent. The welcomes were not all warm. The very first speaker, Paul Borunda, expressed anger about how the city had handled his past complaints about police misconduct before lashing out at Mattiace, who previously represented District 2 on the city council before serving as mayor until 2007, pointing a finger and raising his voice until Enriquez intervened.

Other speakers urged the council to address complaints about unhoused people in the city, crime and public safety and unfinished traffic medians among other matters, while some called on the city to take stands on broader issues such as opposing gun control measures that might be issued from Santa Fe and supporting a cease fire in the Israel-Gaza war.

Moving on, the council approved a resolution committing the city utilities department to develop an asset management plan for water and water infrastructure and addressed three zoning change requests. Enriquez announced his first board and committee appointments, naming himself to the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance board; himself and McClure to the Mesilla Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization; Bencomo and himself (as an ex-officio member) to the South Central Solid Waste Authority; himself and District 5 Councilor Becky Corran to the Doña Ana County Juvenile Justice Continuum Board; Mattiace and Bencomo (as the mayor’s designee) to the Las Cruces Oversight Committee; District 3 Councilor Becki Graham to the Animal Service Center of the Mesilla Valley board; Mattiace to the University District Citizen’s Design Review Committee (as the District 2 representative); McClure to the Las Cruces Utilities Board; and McClure to the Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority with Corran as an alternate.